Acts 1

Vs. 1, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”  The first chapter of Acts connects the life of Jesus’ ministry to the beginning of the church at Pentecost.  Theophilus (friend of God) was most likely an actual person that Luke was writing to (vs. 1).  Luke gives us a synopsis of Jesus’ ministry after His resurrection (vs. 2-8).  During the forty days, Jesus encouraged and guided the disciples before His ascension (vs. 9-11).  Many witnesses were able to testify of our risen Lord!  Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples were to take the Good News to the ends of the earth (vs. 8).  In the latter half of our chapter (vs. 12-26), the disciples return to Jerusalem and ready themselves for Passover.  I love how we see them praying and putting their dependence completely upon the Lord (vs. 12-15).  The choosing of Matthias (vs. 16-26) perplexes some, for they believe Paul was the fulfillment of the twelfth apostle.  However, we are not told that what the disciples did was wrong.  Though Matthias is not mentioned again in Acts, seven other apostles are not mentioned either.

Regarding application…Are You Praying?  Vs. 14, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”  Question: How is your prayer life?  It is believed that minister and well-known commentator of the Bible, Matthew Henry, once stated, “when God wants to do something special in the world, he first gets his people to start praying.” Both individual prayers and corporate prayers are essential parts of our faith!  When you investigate prayer, it really just comes down to communicating with God.  If I were to go home each night and neglect speaking to my wife, I should think our relationship would suffer greatly.  Likewise, our prayer life or lack thereof, can affect our relationship with God.  Prayer can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).  The disciples prayed and God answered!  The power of prayer is a mystery, but one that has an amazing track record!  Pray to the Lord and don’t neglect praying with each other in your church.

Acts 1

Vs. 4, “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”  After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty more days with His disciples instructing them (vs. 2).  He was reminding them that the thirds person of the Trinity will be coming.  The Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit for many Christians is the most difficult to understand.  While there are differences in understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit (vs. 5), we as Christians have the confidence that we have the Holy Spirit in us.  The Holy Spirit helps us to be holy and sanctified for God.  The Holy Spirit guides us and helps us to do the will of the Father in Christ Jesus.  In this chapter, we see the disciples obey Jesus and wait for the coming of the Spirit (vs. 9-26).  I love how we see the dependence shown in fervent prayer (vs. 14).  We also see the adding of Matthias as Judas Iscariots replacement among the twelve (vs. 20-26)

Regarding application…You are Witnesses. Vs. 8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  How can I not highlight this verse for our application today?  This was Jesus’ last command before He ascended to Heaven.  This fulfills the importance of what we call the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20).  Though we have not physically seen Jesus, we still have the important job of witnessing because we have experienced Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Brothers & sisters in Christ…This is our purpose.  So often we ask ourselves, “What is God’s will for me?”  We are to be witnesses of Christ in all that we do.  A witness in a trial bears testimony for what they saw and believe.  We do the same thing.  That is why we devote time to reading the Bible, because the more we know, the more effective our witness becomes!

Luke 1

Vs. 1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us.”  Bear in mind, Luke did not ever meet Jesus physically.  Luke gathered eyewitness testimonies to bring into account the life of our Lord Jesus.  The original receiver of this letter was Theophilus, not much is known of him.  Let’s jump into the narrative.  It was difficult times for God’s people.  Some four hundred years have gone by without directly hearing from any prophet of God.  It is here that the archangel Gabriel comes to pay a visit to the priest Zechariah.  He brings a message of not just a baby boy, but a very special boy that would come in the spirit of Elijah.  John the Baptist would come to help prepare the way.  We also have the account of Gabriel coming to young Mary with the message of the baby Jesus!  Here we see Mary’s beautiful song “The Magnificat” and her very rich knowledge of Scripture.  Additionally, we see the birth of John the Baptist and Zechariah’s own song of praise.

Regarding application…Nothing is Impossible.  Vs. 37, “For nothing is impossible with God.”  I preached from this passage this past Sunday concerning Gabriel’s visit to Mary.  Question: What was this impossibility that Mary faced?  The virgin birth.  A truth so often taken for granted.  This impossible scenario would be a part of the proof that Jesus was both God and man.  God fulfilled His promises to all of us through the miracle birth of Jesus.  It’s worth noting how young Mary, just a teenager responded to this seemingly impossible promise with complete faith.  While we contrast that to the priest Zechariah who doubted and God would strike him with being mute until after John’s birth.  This profound truth that God can do the impossible stands true to us today.  What obstacles in your life do you face with doubt and fear?  Praise the Lord that we have a God that is in the business of doing the impossible!